Sheep stealers at large (June 1826)
“Farmers and graziers [sic] ought to be on their guard against the machinations of a number of midnight readers, who are now busily employed in the perpetration of thefts and robberies in the vicinity of Belfast,” warned the News Letter during this week in 1826.
The report continued: “A few nights ago, a calf was stolen from a poor man, who has a large family, in the neighbourhood of the Knock, in the County of Down.
“On the night the 27 inst some persons, supposed to belong to a gang of depredators, opened the door of a cow-house belonging to Mr Woodside, a gardener to A Crawford, of Bloomfield, Esq, and having left there two sheep, proceeded, as is conjectured, to collect more booty.
“Before their return Mr Woodside had risen from bed, entered the cow-house door, and perceived the sheep, and when the men came back he refused to permit them to be removed under the idea that they were stolen goods.”
The report concluded: “The fellows withdrew, and have never since claimed their alleged property, which has since been committed to the care of a constable for safe keeping until the rightful owner shall have been found.”